Backcourt Trio Sends Eureka Past Fontbonne, 77-68

Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Eureka College senior guard Hayley Reneau (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) poured in 30, senior guard Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) earned a double-double with a career-high 15 rebounds with 11 assists and sophomore guard Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) also logged a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists, driving the Red Devils to a 77-68 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win at Fontbonne, Wednesday night in St. Louis, Mo.

The victory was EC's seventh in a row against SLIAC opponents and allowed the Red Devils (7-1) to keep pace in the league standings with first-place Greenville, which improved to 7-0 Wednesday with an 81-79 win at Webster. Eureka, which owns the league's longest active streak of SLIAC Tournament semifinal appearances with six, is 21-3 in SLIAC regular-season play since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.

Fontbonne built a double-digit lead less than six minutes into Wednesday's game, leading 14-4 on Kaitlynn Walker's triple at the 4:27 mark of the first quarter. The hosts ultimately led 23-17 at the end of the period.

The Red Devils turned the tide early in the second quarter, holding the Griffins scoreless for nearly four minutes and using a 7-0 run to capture a 24-23 edge on a layup by Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.). The two teams were tied as late as the 4:32 mark of the first half before Reneau connected from long range for a 31-28 lead with 4:05 to play. Reneau's bucket triggered EC's 11-4 surge to end the half and the visitors carried a 39-32 advantage into the locker room.

The Griffins clawed within a single point three times in the third quarter and as late as the 2:46 mark when Katie Sportsman's layup made the score 52-51, but another Reneau 3-pointer ignited an 11-3 burst to end the frame and hold a 63-54 lead.

A Kennedy Dura 3-pointer extended Eureka's lead to 12, 66-54, less than a minute into the final quarter. Fontbonne was able to whittle its deficit back to eight with 3:42 to go, but missed its next three field goal attempts and a pair of free throws to stifle the comeback bid.

Reneau hit a career-high seven 3-pointers Wednesday, joining Brittany Gardner and Emily Camden as the only players in program history to make at least seven triples in a game. She finished 10-for-21 from the floor and 7-for-14 from beyond the arc.

Kerrigan Dura's 15 rebounds bested her previous career high of 14 set in last week's win at Westminster. Her 11 assists increased her career total to 358 and allowed her to move in front of Jamie While (1990-94) for second place on the Red Devils' all-time list. The late Molly Hardesty owns Eureka's career assists record with 415. Additionally, Dura's 2017-18 season total of 110 assists is already tied for seventh in EC's single-season list.

Ashley Harfst (Saunemin, Ill./Pontiac H.S.) tacked on 18 points Wednesday. The Red Devils recorded assists on 27 of their 30 baskets.

Raven Venegas paced Fontbonne with 10 points. Paige Black scored 14.

Eureka will look to claim first place in the SLIAC standings this Saturday when the Red Devils visit unbeaten league leader Greenville at 1 p.m. The Panthers handed Eureka its only league loss of the season on Nov. 29, an 85-80 decision at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.